Sermon Transcript – Sunday, May 26, 2013
Jesus and Our Ancestors (part 5) – Hebrews 11:23-29
A. The Faith of Moses’ Parents
Hebrews 11:23 – By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command.
As we have examined the faith of the faithful listed in Hebrews 11 we have studied Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Now the writer to Hebrew Christians continues to reflect on the heritage of these faithful by moving on to Moses. Specifically in this verse we see the faith of Moses’ parents.
Amram and Jochebed, both from the tribe of Levi, were married and in time she became pregnant. There was at the time a ruling by Pharaoh to suppress the Israelites. Pharaoh (this one did not know Joseph) began to fear that the Israelites were becoming too strong as a people and that they would begin to influence and then overtake Egypt. He put them in bondage, tortured them, and gave diabolical instructions to the midwives that assisted the Israelite women when they gave birth. The command was that if a boy was born he should be immediately killed, but girls would be allowed to live.
The midwives ran into trouble though as they found that God could get around any decree from Pharaoh – a trend throughout the Book of Exodus. The Hebrew women gave birth quickly, before the midwives could get there. The result was that male children were being born, and after their birth the midwives did all that they could to protect and save these baby boys.
Pharaoh was livid and decreed then that any male child was to be thrown in the river. Amazing isn’t it the correlation between Pharaoh and Herod? After Jesus was born Herod had all the male children two years and under killed in Bethlehem. Murdering babies never accomplishes what people hope to accomplish through such sinful behavior. Beside, God’s will cannot be prevented by mere men, no matter how despotic or ruthless.
Once Jochebed gave birth she hid her baby boy for 3 months. The Bible says he was “beautiful” and the term means literally that he found “favor”, a term translated other places as having found “grace.” Moses found grace indeed as God had a plan for him and His people.
The result of this grace was that Moses’ parents did not fear Pharaoh. They loved their son and preserved his life. They hid him as long as they could but soon it became obvious that something had to be done to prevent the discovery of his birth. Their faith was on display here. They trusted God and did what they had to do to save their baby’s life.
The plan was to build an ark. It was a small waterproof basket that could hold baby Moses and float in the reeds on the edge of the river. Of course there were dangers as animals like crocodiles and other predators would find a quick meal in or around the river were a constant threat. This faith from his parents was a faith that God was able to protect. The basket was placed among the reeds and his sister, Miriam, watched from a distance to be sure the basket was safe.
While the ark was floating there Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to bathe. She saw the ark, sent a maid to fetch it, opened it, and found the baby crying. She knew it was a Hebrew baby but had compassion. She adopted the baby, naming him Moses which means “drawn from the water.” Miriam saw this discovery and volunteered to find a Hebrew woman to nurse this baby and Pharaoh’s daughter agreed.
Imagine the encouragement it was to Jochebed and her faith as she was paid as a servant by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse and care for her own son. When he was old enough he went to be Pharaoh’s daughter’s son. This baby Hebrew boy, saved at birth in defiance of Pharaoh’s decree, hidden among the reeds in a small basket, retrieved by the king’s daughter, nursed by his own mother – this baby became the Pharaoh’s grandson, raised in his courts with all the privileges of royalty.
Moses’ parents feared God more than men, had incredible faith in the midst of overwhelming odds, did what was right and honored God, preserved his life, and as the story unfolds we see the amazing favor that was shown to Moses as God had already chosen to use him to deliver the people from their bondage and take them to the Promised Land. There in that little floating basket, there in the reeds, their faith led to the Exodus, to the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that this people would serve in Egypt four generations and then be set free to claim their inheritance, the Promised Land.
Who knows what God may do as we trust Him with our life and the lives of our family. Trust Him with them, and expect great things, for we serve a great God.
B. The Faith of Moses
Hebrews 11:24 – By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
The faith of Moses’ parents was rewarded by his life being spared and his adoption by the daughter of Pharaoh. We also marvel at Providence, as God designs it so that his own mother can nurse him and care for him until he is weaned and old enough to go be taken care of in Pharaoh’s house. We have to wonder as we study these things how much of an influence his mother was on him even at this young age.
There are many deep lessons to be learned in these next few verses about Moses. Many things we could cover and dig into. But I only want to focus on two things. Let us look at Moses’ faith, and the actions that resulted from his faith.
1. Faith and Age
The first thing I want to note is that when Moses was grown, we move from talking about his parents faith and we see the example of his faith. He believes God. He takes God at His Word. Moses has faith of his own.
We know this as he is mentioned now as having faith and coming of age. Think of this. The only time his mother would have had to teach him about God was while he was young enough to be nursing. So from the time of his birth until the time he is weaned, Jochebed was busy teaching him the truth about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Can you see her, there nursing him, and talking to him, and praying for him with him there being attentive. We often think that children do not understand what we are talking about. We think they cannot understand a sermon or a lesson or even a conversation between adults. However kids are like little sponges. They hear and comprehend more than we think or believe. So much so that a study a few years ago proved that parents should not use “baby talk” when speaking to their children. Why? Because then the kids mimic what they hear and end up talking baby talk themselves and it takes them longer to learn how to communicate their needs and desires effectively. If we speak to them normally and conversationally, they hear, learn, and repeat.
Little children can learn a lot, but remember, the Bible tells us that Moses had faith and his mother would have been the source of what he learned. Faith, after all, as we have learned comes from the Word of God as a gift from His hand. Do we think that the mind of a child is impenetrable when it comes to the power of the Spirit applying the Word of God? We forget, don’t we, that before the Holy Spirit called us to life and gave us faith, we were all dead in sin, incapable of having faith or of even desiring to please God.
1 Cor 2:14 reminds us that “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
And Rom 8:6-7 says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
So if we all are incapable outside of the intervention of the Holy Spirit, then why would age make a difference? Can not the Holy Spirit even regenerate babies in the womb? Gabriel the angel told Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father, “He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15). It is not our age that matters – it is the powerful working of the Spirit.
Parents, do not ever underestimate the effect of the teaching the Word of God to our children. Do not ever think that they are too young to hear the Word of God. Jesus said we have to have faith like a little child to enter heaven. Don’t water the Word down. They will gain from hearing it. Who knows when the Holy Spirit will use the Word we teach to give our children faith.
2. Faith and Action
Secondly, in this verse we see Moses’ faith in action. We see how this faith works by noticing that when he was old enough to make his own decisions, he left Pharaoh’s house. He believed God and rejected life as Pharaoh’s grandson.
This was a huge step for Moses to take. He grew up in the royal household undoubtedly with incredible opportunities for learning and for having his needs met to the point of indulgence. He had made up his mind. Because of his faith, because he knew who and what he was, he identified with his own people and rejected all that Pharaoh’s daughter had to offer for him.
His trust in God was such that he would rather live with the slaves as a slave than sit at Pharaoh’s table. He was more than willing to leave that life behind and reject anything that this world had to offer. He set his mind on the people of God and their plight, and joined with them in their suffering.
How eager are we at times to let go, or to refuse to let go, of this life and all that it supposedly has to offer? How are we when it comes to having faith and living among the people of God as one of them instead of living among the world as one of them? That is a powerful question, isn’t it?
We are told not to love the world or the things in it (1 John 2:15-17), to not be conformed to it (Romans 12:1-2), to be separate from it (2 Corinthians 6:17), and instead to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20) and set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1). Moses did this. He counted the cost. He was willing and ready to forsake all that this “worldly” life had to offer in order to humbly serve His God and his people. Are there things in your life that we need to forsake and reject today?
3. Faith and Affliction
Hebrews 11:25 – …choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…
Moses’ parents’ faith led to his being born, preserved, and used by God to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt. His faith was instrumental in his decision to leave Pharaoh’s house and live as who he was – a Hebrew. Now we see that not only did he desire to be among his own people and forsake the life he could have been afforded as an “adopted” Egyptian, but even beyond that he was willing, by faith, to choose affliction rather than the passing pleasures of sin. Let’s look at each phrase in this verse and study it to see what faith means in day to day choices.
…choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…
First, by faith, because he was trusting God, he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, and secondly in making this choice he was rejecting the opportunity of enjoying the passing pleasures of sin.
As we have discussed previously, often today there are false teachers all over the place preaching and teaching and exemplifying a life without any suffering or affliction. They preach that if we have real faith then we will not suffer. Get that? Here in Hebrews 11, because Moses had faith that was pleasing to God, real faith, he chose to suffer affliction. And yet these false prophets today proclaim that if we have faith we won’t suffer affliction in any area of our lives. What Bible are they reading??
Moses knew that his people were suffering under the hands of the Egyptians. He knew they were being forced into hard labor and being abused and mistreated. He knew what the life of a Hebrew entailed in that day and time in Egypt. By faith he stepped right into that life. He chose by an act of his own will, informed by his faith, to suffer affliction with the rest of his people.
Now I do not think that we should react to the false teachers of the day by seeking out suffering as if it were a sign of godliness. In fact, that is another error just as serious as the Word- Faith poison. It is wrong and Biblically ignorant to claim that we will never suffer. It is just as ignorant to want to suffer just because we think suffering makes us pleasing to God. Suffering is uncomfortable and it hurts. Suffering for selfish reasons or self-righteousness does not bring one any closer to God than does sending $1000 to the TV preacher.
The fact is, we will suffer in this life, and while we may not want it, we know it will come, it is part of God’s will, and it will end up for our good and His glory. The Word of God promises that those who follow Christ will suffer, and that suffering is cause for joy and hope as suffering proves our faith.
We might need to preach that these days, that following Christ is a guarantee of suffering. Yes, and “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12). We should encourage people to count the cost. Too many in the church are nothing less than baptized pagans – they have not counted the cost, they are not trusting Christ, they are faithless and hopeless.
We will suffer, but the Bible is clear, when we do we should check to see that we are suffering for the right reasons:
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? – 1 Peter 4:12-17
According to the Bible we suffer for a number of reasons – to prove the genuineness of our faith, because we are following Christ, or at times as discipline because we have sinned. But Moses by faith chose the affliction that came with being part of the people of God. He decided to be who God had created him to be, a Hebrew. He chose by faith to suffer affliction with his people.
He did this, by faith, because he would rather suffer with God’s people than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time. Notice the great truths here. Notice what we learn about sin. We see that sin is indeed pleasurable. That is why it is so tempting. What fun would it be if sin was not pleasurable? If it did not appeal to the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, and our pride of life, what would be the temptation?
This reminds me – I recall an incident one Fourth of July out in West Texas. A friend and fellow minister of mine had us over with his family for the city’s parade and fireworks after a great cook out in the panhandle town of Muleshoe, Texas. One of his young nephews was out playing with the dogs and was standing near an electrified fence – a fence hooked up to an electrical current used to dissuade cattle from pushing against it and getting loose. The young boy’s dad called out and warned him about the electric fence and told him it would shock him if he touched it. So what did he do?
Now wait a minute. He thought this out. Really. He told us later that he thought about what his dad said, looked at the fence, wondered if it was true that the fence would shock him and hurt. He trusted his dad but his curiosity got the best of him. So while no one was looking, he decided to see if the fence shocked. But here is the hysterical part of this thinking – he did not want to get shocked so he thought he would see if it shocked the dog. How would he get the dog to the fence, the dog who lived there and knew about the fence? When the dog ran under the fence he lowered his otherwise always wagging tail so as to avoid the shock, but this little boy had it all figured out.
Suddenly we all heard a dog YELP and a SCREAM. As we turned to see what had happened, the boy had ahold of the fence with one hand and the dog’s nose with the other! He figured if he touched the fence and the dog at the same time then the dog would get shocked. Little did he understand that the current would go through him on the way to the poor pooch.
Boy – we still laugh about that years later. He was curious and tested it. It hurt. Now tell me, if he knew that the fence would hurt would he have touched it? See, he did not know about the hurt. Hence he was tempted and disobeyed his dad.
How often do we doubt that sin is hurtful? We know about the pleasure – the momentary fulfillment and satisfaction, the gratification of that minute of pleasure, but the sting of sin is death. Sin hurts. It kills. The pleasure is passing – brief, short, here one minute and gone the next. So we do not doubt that sin is pleasurable. Therein lies the temptation to put self first and do what we want (lust) instead of being obedient and resisting (love). Hopefully as we mature we learn the true danger of sin and see through the counterfeit and false offer of pleasure. Hopefully, we will learn to pass the momentary pleasure of sin for the eternal benefit of obedience.
That was Moses as he was living by faith. Trusting God. Choosing suffering and affliction instead of the passing pleasures of sin. Do we have that view of sin? Would we rather suffer affliction than enjoy sin? It is easy to say yes to that question, but what does our life show to be the case? Do we chose more often than not to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin or do we deny self, even if it means suffering?
Do you see sin for what it is? Do you by faith chose to do what is right no matter the cost? Do you trust God and His Word enough to stand against the cheap and passing pleasure of self-indulgence? By faith, do you walk in obedience? Does your faith work?
II. Faith for the Future – vs. 26
Hebrews 11:26 – …esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Moses refused to be raised in the house of Pharaoh, he chose to suffer affliction rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin, and now we learn that he was “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” Moses valued bearing the reproach of Christ. It was more meaningful to him than all the treasures of Egypt. Why? Because he was looking for “the reward.”
This reward was the promise of God as it had been passed down from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, on to the sons of Jacob and Joseph. The twelve tribes knew of the promises about the land and Moses wanted to see and experience the promised blessing of God.
Notice too that Moses possesses a faith that is real and true – a faith that pleases God. How do we know this? Remember Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for those who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” And we have just learned that Moses not only believed God, but he looked for the reward promised. He believed God was a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Remember from our earlier study of this verse that the reward is salvation!
It is significant that Moses’ faith was faith in Christ. There in the Old Testament, waiting for God to send the Messiah, Moses had faith in Jesus Christ, as God had promised to save His people and bless all the peoples of the earth through Abraham. He esteemed bearing the reproaches of Christ as better than the treasures of Egypt. His heart was steadfast and set. He would rather suffer affliction and reproach instead of indulging in sin and becoming greedy for the material goods of Egypt.
What does it mean to be willing to bear the reproach of Christ? Hebrews 13:13 tells us that we are to bear the reproach of Christ, that is, to join with Him in suffering for what is right. Just as He was sent outside the city gates and crucified, so we too are truly outside of the realm of this world, we are not to love it, live for it, or seek it. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We are, just as these in the Hall of Faith, pilgrims looking for our home.
Are we willing, as Moses was, to bear shame and reproach because we are following Christ? Are we willing to pay a price for believing? If not, then our faith is fake and we are deluded. A faith that recants as soon as things heat up is no faith at all.
We know that we will suffer if we follow Christ. As we have discussed previously, people who hate Christ will hate us. Why? Because we look like Him. We remind them of what they hate. We have to remember what Jesus and the Apostles have told us about bearing the reproach of Christ. We have to realize what Moses knew to be true. It is a great blessing to bear the reproach of Christ. As Moses believed, it is of more value than temporal earthly treasures.
1 Peter 4:14 says, “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” And Matthew 5:10-12 reminds us, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Do we prefer the things of value that this world has to offer? Do we live with the goal of being financially secure and trust in our jobs, retirement accounts, etc, to make us secure? Do we live only for “making it big” or even just “making ends meet?” Do we live for God, or for money? The eternal or the temporary?
Moses lived for Christ. He counted the cost. He was willing to chose to suffer affliction and reproach for Christ and with Christ rather than enjoy a luxurious life with sin abounding and his every fleshly whim fulfilled. He loved God and trusted Him and was willing to give everything up to follow Christ.
III. Faith and Fear – vs. 27
Hebrews 11:27 – By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
By faith we know that Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but even further than this, we know that by faith he forsook Egypt. He left it all behind. Some think there is an error here in the Bible. They claim that Moses did leave Egypt because he feared Pharaoh. The text says he left and did not fear Pharaoh. So which is correct?
Moses left Egypt twice. The first time it was after he had killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. As he fled it was specifically because he did fear Pharaoh and the consequences of his sin. The second time he left Egypt he did not fear Pharaoh, for the second time he left he was leading the people to freedom from their bondage after witnessing the ten plagues and the power of God.
What was the difference between these two situations? The first time Moses was depending upon himself to help his people his own way. The second time he was depending upon God to deliver his people. Think about it as we compare these two occasions. We will see the difference between fleeing Egypt and forsaking Egypt.
A. Fleeing Egypt – Exodus 2:11-15
11 Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?” 14 Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” So Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!” 15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.
Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and he killed him for it. He hid the body by burying it in the sand. He was a murderer, and while he thought he had gotten away with it and that no one had seen him it became evident the next day that he was seen and that people did know what he had done.
He had tried to act as the deliverer of this Hebrew by striking the Egyptian. But when Pharaoh heard about it he was ready to kill Moses. He was forced to flee for his life. Depending on his own power and his own thoughts he tried to help a fellow Hebrew. The result was sin and shame. The same thing results any time we try to do God’s work our own way. When we forsake depending on Him and try to deal with life on our own, we always end up in sin and shame.
Jesus said He is the vine and we are the branches. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Likewise, Moses on his own could not save even one Hebrew without bringing down the wrath of Pharaoh. How could he save all the people if he could barely save himself?
B. Forsaking Egypt
The text says that after he fled and spent 40 years in Midian, after he matured in his faith and learned to walk with God, after these things God called him to go back to Egypt to save the people – all of them.
As he returned to face a new Pharaoh and lead the people of God out of bondage he went depending upon God, even hesitant because of his own weaknesses. Moses, when God told him to go to Egypt, at first did not want to go and even made excuses. He could not speak well, the people would not believe him, no one would know who God was, and Pharaoh would not let the people go.
God promised to work wonders and signs and bring about the freedom of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. When God had done exactly what He said He would do and Moses led the people out, this time he did not flee, he forsook. The word “forsook” means to purposefully leave behind. He did not flee in a moment of emotion, panic, and fear without thought. He purposefully left, taking Israel with him.
When Moses depended upon himself he just messed things up. When he patiently learned to depend upon God, God did wonders and Moses led the people to freedom and the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They forsook Egypt for the Promised Land.
C. Faithful Endurance
Moses was able to lead like this because he had learned to endure. Forty years in the desert teaches one patience if anything. As Moses had waited on God and grown in his walk with God he had learned to endure. It says he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
Moses knew God. Here is Hebrews 11:1 for us in real life – faith is “the evidence of things not seen.” Moses endured and learned to depend upon God as though he could see the invisible. How is this possible? Faith gave him eyes to see and ears to hear what God had to show him.
He endured the wilderness, forty years at a time, twice. He endured the challenge to Pharaoh, the plagues, and the Exodus. He became a great prophet, leading the people to freedom and giving them the Law written by God’s own finger. He led them to deliverance and freedom. He endured by faith.
Where once he was fleeing for fear, now he was forsaking in faith. Who are we depending on today? Self? Others? Or God? Self will deceive, others will fail, but God is able. Trust Him today.
IV. Faith and Deliverance – vs. 28
Hebrews 11:28 – By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
Moses has listed in Hebrews 11 several actions that resulted from his faith. Each is important and plays a part in God using him to lead the people of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. Here in verse 28 we see the last great plague upon Egypt and Moses’ response in faith to what God was doing.
This was a terrifying night for Israel and Egypt, and Moses played a crucial role in the events that transpired. As God had been sending plagues upon Egypt to get their attention, to demonstrate His power for Israel, and to ultimately free the people, Pharaoh resisted until this last plague.
Here at last before the Exodus God struck dead all the firstborn in every house in Egypt, killing both people and animals. Let us briefly look at the preparations for this event and look at the details of what Moses did in faith that was used by God to spare Israel from this plague.
This event, recorded for us first in Exodus chapter 12, was the prelude to the Exodus and the institution of the Feast of Passover for Israel. Each household was to take a spotless lamb into it on the tenth day of the month. The lamb was to be treated as a pet, cared for by the family in the house from the tenth to the fourteenth day. At twilight on the fourteenth day the lamb was to be killed, prepared as a meal, and eaten. Some of the blood from this spotless sacrificed lamb was to be put on the doorposts of the house. The lamb represents for us Christ of course and the whole feast points to salvation in Jesus.
There were other things to prepare with this meal, but the key is this spotless lamb that was loved by the family and sacrificed for them. The blood that covered the door was a sign to God of their faith and obedience and when He saw the blood of the sacrifice on the door He passed over that house and did not kill the firstborn. Every house without the blood saw the death of the firstborn that night.
Because he believed God Moses kept the Passover and instructed the nation of Israel as to how God wanted it to be observed so that they might be spared. Imagine if he had messed up part of the message or not told everyone. He was faithful to do what God asked, to tell all the people about the Passover as it was instituted for the whole nation as an everlasting ordinance.
What if he had not observed the Passover or had not told the rest of Israel about it? If he had neglected this call he as the firstborn in his family, and many, many others would have died that night with the Egyptians. The only safety came through being in a house under the blood of these spotless lambs.
Of course we see the obvious picture here of Christ and the church. Any of us who are not under the blood, those who have not placed their faith in Christ or had their sins forgiven – they will face the same fate of the uncovered firstborn. Death. But those under the shed blood of Jesus can rest assured that God has passed over their sins because of the life and death of Christ.
Moses shows us the importance of faithfully preaching the gospel to those who need to hear it, too. How many need to hear how to be spared? How many need to hear how to be saved? All have sinned so all need the Savior! We know what to tell them and the consequences of not telling them, yet too often for whatever poor reason we can come up with, we neglect to be a faithful witness for Christ. We neglect the gospel. We forget that God is able to save sinners. We forget that the results are up to Him. We forget what He requires of us.
We forget that lives depend upon us obeying the Great Commission. We must tell people the truth. We must witness. We must tell them of Jesus and the forgiveness we have through His crucifixion. If we do not, their lives and souls are at stake.
V. Faith and Preservation – vs. 29
Hebrews 11:29 – By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
We have seen how God prepared and used Moses and his faith to raise up a leader who could free Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. This last verse in the paragraph of text tells us about the faith of all of Israel as they left Egypt.
Before we get to the details of the conquests of the Promised Land we have first begun at the Exodus. The Passover and the death of the firstborn of Egypt and any not covered by the blood of the lamb led Pharaoh not just to free the Hebrews, but instead to order them out. To send them packing. He demanded that they leave and that the Egyptians give them provisions as they went. The Hebrews asked for these provisions and the Egyptians so wanted them to go so that no one else would die and there would be no more plagues that they gladly gave them silver, gold, and articles of clothing. The Bible refers to it as the Israelites plundering the Egyptians.
The Lord led the people with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, taking them to the region of the Red Sea. God was always before them and remember we see when this happened that they carried the bones of Joseph out of Egypt as he had requested.
As the people saw the power of God demonstrated and started on their journey to the Promised Land they did not get far before Pharaoh changed his mind. How hard a heart is that to have seen the plagues and the death even of the firstborn throughout the land even in his own family and yet to decide to pursue the Israelites? That is what he did. He decided to recapture the Israelites. He did so because this was what God had determined to have him do. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that He might show that He was God!
Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zemphon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. – Exodus 14:1-4
Pharaoh gave chase with his army and chariots. The Israelites seemed to be cornered with no way out. They thought they would be killed right there in the wilderness. All the army and chariots and Pharaoh would surely just ride over them.
Conclusion: But God…
What a phrase that is. “But God” had other plans. He would declare His glory. He would protect His people. He would yet perform a great miracle to deliver His children. Hebrews 11:29 tells us what happened. By faith, we read, they passed through the Red Sea. This is likely referring to Moses’ faith still, but as he led the people followed – this also took faith, in God and in Moses’ leadership. Just as there seemed no way of escape, God parted the waters. Listen to what happened:
And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Faith, trust in God, trust in His provision and protection and in His will – here it is. Death or life depends on what happens next and Moses tells the people to see the salvation of the Lord. The Angel of the Lord defends them through the night, and the Red Sea parts, with water standing up as two walls on either side of the dry path through its midst.
Movies have tried to show us what this was like, but nothing can compare to being there I am sure. Can you imagine? The Red Sea parted. Just like the Bible tells us. The water “stood up” and made a path. The nation of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. There just are not special effects or even words enough to make this real to us. But God did it.
When the Egyptians attempted to follow the whole army was swallowed by the Sea as it closed over them. There could be no doubt, the God of Israel was the Lord, He was God, He could not be contended with and His people could not be touched as long as He defended them.
The summary from Exodus 14 states, “Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.” Over and over again throughout Scripture we read about this victory and the great and mighty things that God did at the parting of the Red Sea.
We must never forget then why God parted the Sea and destroyed the Egyptians. It was not just to free His people. No. God did what He did for the same reason He does anything and everything He does – for His own glory. He proved beyond doubt that He was God, and as such, He can always be trusted.